The professional jury for SomePitching #6 will be announced one by one before and during the competition during. See far below the previous Jury members, and you’ll get an understanding of the level of skills and experience we except to the Jury.
The jury feedback alone is an awesome prize, so make your pitch as good as possible to get your idea into the finals! Only finalists get all the Jury members to personally give you feedback and ranking. Many of the Jury members will be giving their personal coaching as a Prize for their favorite finalist – a unique prize, something that money can’t buy!
Below you can see the Jury for SomePitching no. 6:
Tom Laine, Chairman and Co-Founder of SomePitching. Tom is a Finnish serial entrepreneur with a couple of small successes under his belt. Tom has been back and forth building social media and crowdsourcing startups (since 1999) and working for bluechips such as building Nordic marketing campaigns for Oracle in Denmark and doing social media recruitment in the UK, and doing research for the likes of Nordic Innovation Center, Nokia and Siemens (Denmark). Currently Tom is working as the CEO and Co-Founder at crowdsourcing specialists Innopinion, owner of niche social media consultancy HC Services, and Partner, Co-Founder at SW consultancy Encompass Solutions. Tom has also co-authored 3 books about innovation and social media. Additionally Tom holds positions at the Board of Starttaamo startup center which he also Co-Founded, and advisor and board positions in a couple of other startups.
Ykä Marjanen, Secretary of the Board, Technical Lead, Co-Founder at SomePitching. Ykä is a Finnish serial entrepeneur with a research background from Finland and the UK, and has a Ph.D in human sciences. Ykä is also the CTO and Co-Founder of crowdsourcing specialists Innopinion, the Chairman and Co-Founder of Starttamo startup center and startups trade association, Vice Chairman at Revontuliryhmä, and advisor for several startups. Prior to his startup career, Ykä worked at the national research center VTT as a researcher and team leader.
Bill Reichert (USA), the Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures, a leading seed-stage and early-stage venture capital fund, based in Silicon Valley. Garage makes seed investments in promising early stage technology companies and works intensively with them to help them to the next step. Some of Garage’s most successful startups include Pandora, Tripwire, LeftHand, Coremetrics, Hoku Scientific, Kaboodle, MiaSole, and Simply Hired.
Bill has spent most of his career as an entrepreneur and operating executive. Prior to joining Garage in 1998, Bill was a co-founder and senior executive at several early-stage, venture-backed technology companies, including Trademark Software, The Learning Company, Infa Technologies, and Academic Systems. Earlier in his career, Bill worked at McKinsey & Co. in Los Angeles, the World Bank in Washington, DC, and Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. in New York. Bill earned his BA from Harvard University and his MBA from Stanford University.
Taneli Tikka (Finland), one of the most successful Finnish start-up’ers. Taneli’s latest position is with Tieto, where he is building a team for Industrial Internet. He is also an active Co-Founder of TLD Registry, a company managing certain Chinese domains. His past experience includes an astonishing list of names, most recently Wunderkraut and ex- Managing Director at Soprano Brain Alliance. Taneli is a serial entrepreneur and the Finnish ICT opinion leader of 2010. He is known from his experience in managing tech startups & social networks such as Dopplr, Muxlim and IRC-
Paul Bragiel (USA/Colombia), managing partner and co-founder of I/O Ventures, an early stage startup accelerator based in San Francisco. Previously Paul has founded and served as the CEO of 3 companies including: Lefora, a product bringing forums into the 21st century, proudly hosting over 100,000+ unique communities; Meetro, the first location based social network, and; Paragon Five, a game development studio specializing in console and mobile content with offices in Chicago and Krakow, Poland. Paul is a modern day adventurer, travelling the world to find the best is has to offer, always on the look for the next big thing. And he’s nowhere close to being ready with his search!
Jouko Ahvenainen (UK) is serial-entrepreneur, e.g. co-founder of Grow VC Group, the new funding solution, including equity p2p investment, pioneer. He has participated in the work to change the US finance regulation and get the Senate and President to allow crowdfunding. Jouko is a partner and board member also in other financial and portfolio companies, e.g. Lost In Translations Inc., Skimmler Ltd, and Project Papillon.
Jouko is one of the pioneers in social media marketing, and personally had significant role in developing and selling the first social marketing intelligence solutions for mobile and media companies. Jouko has vast experience of international business in Asia, Europe, and North America; he has lived and worked in Finland, Malaysia, UK, and the US, and run business in Hong Kong.
Jouko has worked in teams to close several VC deals (from 150k USD to 15M USD), and has also closed several large customer deals and been responsible for 40M USD annual revenue. He started his first own software business when he was only 16 years old. Jouko has been a Certified Adviser in NasdaqOMX First North lists stock exchanges. Jouko sits on the Boards of various start-up companies, and is a co-founder or seed investor in 11 companies altogether.
Additionally Jouko is a regular speaker in many marketing, start-up funding, mobile and web conferences including SXSW, Mobile World Congress, CTIA, Next Conference, Echelon and Singapore Infocomm conferences around Europe, Asia, and the US. He is also a co-author in Social Media Data Analytics book. In 2013 he was listed Top 100 Influencers in Digital Industry.
Jouko holds an MBA from Helsinki School of Economics / McCombs School of Business, at the University of Texas, Austin and a M.Sc.(Tech.) from Helsinki University of Technology.
Dr. John Meewella (Sri Lanka, Indonesia). Dr. Meewella is currently serving at the IPMI Indonesia as Dean and Professor; Oulu Business School as Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship-Management, Managing Director of internationalization expansions in the GCC-MENA region, Managing Director of the Oulu Entrepreneurship Center; Professor of Entrepreneurship, International Business, Supply Chain Management & Foreign Trade at Oulu University of Applied Sciences; Review Team for journals: IJTE, IJBEX & WREMSD; Board of Management for Graduate School of Management and serves on several corporate Boards of Directors. You can imagine we are having hard time trying to figure out how to present John in short and at the same time in full, as he is truly a man of multiple disciplines. So instead of settling in to briefly describing 2 or 3 things about John, we’re dedicating a wider portfolio of his experience here. An exception worth making.
Prior to moving to Finland in late 2010, John served on dual roles as the Managing Director, Emirates Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (ECIE) and Lecturer, Faculty of Business & Economics at the United Arab Emirates University, where he was responsible for the overall strategic, innovative and entrepreneurial directions of a government initiative in promoting creativity, innovation & entrepreneurship within the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Within a couple of years of taking on the position of Managing Director at the Emirates Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (ECIE), he helped create a member/staff base of around 2,000 in training, consultancy, start-ups, incubation support, innovation labs, expansion and multi-disciplinary projects.
John is a frequent visiting speaker at such prestigious Universities as Wharton, MIT, Harvard, etc. He has been awarded with certificates and prizes by no less that Sheikhs, and has managed to study a list of dozens of qualifications, including 2 (!) Doctorates in Business Administration and 6 (!) Master’s Degrees in related fields, and multiple other diplomas and courses,currently pursuing his 3rd and 4th Doctorates!
John is also the Founder/ Director of Aspire Solutions Group www.aspiresolutions.biz – a social entrepreneurial consulting group based in Australia, UAE, Sri Lanka and Japan – where he is actively consulting to various global academic, corporate, community, training & governmental bodies.
Mikko Silventola (Finland/Singapore) is the Chairman of the Board and Partner of Frontier. In addition he is the founder and Chairman of Calcus Group and TAEL Group, which he has just exited recently. Mikko has a solid track record in internationalization of the companies in Europe and the Middle East. He has also operated in the private equity sector and has worked with a number of investments including Smarp, Tribe Studios, Liilak, Transfluent, Telefuusio, FundedByMe, and Bookiwoo.
Moaffak Ahmed (Finland), Co-founder and General partner at Veturi (Vigo accelerator)
Moaffak is a serial entrepreneur and hands-on early stage investor with 25 years of marketing and business development experience in Europe, North America, and Asia. Moaffak works with passionate entrepreneurs and researchers to translate innovative ideas to significant growth companies. Veturi Venture Accelerator provides seed funding, strategic guidance and hands-on participation.
Radoslav Vašina (Bratislava, Slovakia) is a Chairman of Board of Directors of Investeers – a company that helps VC funds with steering their investments to accomplish desired goals. At the moment Investeers acts as an investment manager for Slovak based Innovations and Technologies Fund. Radoslav and his team are looking for companies from seed and startup stage up to expansion, whose business models are offering an innovative approach and have potential for international growth.
Radoslav is also an active member of Slovak Business Agency startup workgroup where the mission is to bring best practices from abroad to Slovakia and establish a competitive and sustainable ecosystem for startups in the country. Thanks to his project management background, PhD. studies focused on finance and previous work experience on the board of several companies, Radoslav is also one of the mentors in Slovak Business Agency startup program.
After a 500K investment of Innovations and Technologies Fund to Datamolino – SaaS solution that provides the benefits of large enterprise solutions in the area of invoice processing to accountants servicing the SMEs,Radoslav represents the investor on the board of Datamolino.
Megan Powell Vreeswijk (UK) is a Senior Commercialization Fellow at Loughborough University, and heads The Studio (a graduate commercialization hub). She manages The Studio and its activities along with promoting and securing opportunities for the entrepreneurs, potential investors and partners.
Megan has extensive business start-up and entrepreneurial experience in the creative sector. Currently working at Loughborough University as their Senior Commercialization Fellow she is head of the Studio (a graduate commercialization hub for creative and commercial start-ups). Delivering support and training programs to the new businesses, she manages the Studio and its activities along with promoting and securing opportunities for entrepreneurs, potential investors and partners. Megan has a strong background in Design; product development, fashion & textiles and contour fashion. Having run her own businesses and helped others raise funding and start theirs, she is well placed to assist creative businesses realize their ambitions. With first-hand experience of working in Intellectual Property lead creative, Megan has developed a family of patents and design registrations. This knowledge enables her to assist new creative practitioners in protecting their ideas and work in the most effective manner.
Harry Santamäki (Finland), CEO and Co-Founder of KoppiCatch Oy, Helsinki-based business accelerator and seed investment company with Vigo status. Harry is a master of new business generation and development. His motto is ”in the morning we do vision work but afternoon we should be already coding the software”. Through his entire business life Mr. Santamäki has been working for new technologies and new businesses for companies like VTT, Nokia Corporation and his own startups, living in Finland and USA. During his free time he enjoys family life and long-distance running.
Janne Hietaniemi (Finland), CEO and Co-Founder of Solved – The Cleantech Company Ltd, a global, online, collaborative cleantech business, advisory service that addresses the world’s environmental and energy-related challenges (www.solved.fi). Janne is an energy efficiency expert and has almost 20 years’ experience of new business development within Cleantech services. Previously he has worked as a Director of Finpro’s Energy, Environment and Forest industries with global responsibility. He has also been running energy services in Motiva Oy and Olof Gralund Oy. Together with Santtu Hulkkonen he is a Key architect of Cleantech Finland since 2007. He’s also a member of the board at several SME companies. Janne has been a member of the jury of European Business Awards for the Environment. He is authorized as an energy auditor, global consultant and business plan consultant with successful management consulting track record of tens of companies.
Mike Bradshaw (UK, Finland), a startup community shepherd, in his own words “You should not manage a community, only attempt to look after it”. He is the dis-organiser of BarCamp Helsinki and other un-conferences, a coach at both StartupSauna and Founder Institute Finland, helps out at Hub Helsinki, is a driver with the Travelling Salesman project, one of the organiser’s of MobileDevCamp.fi for the last four years or so, helps run things with Appcampus, and is a proud holder of a British passport. Some have even seen Mike take on tasks at Slush. So it’s no wonder if some people call Mike ‘the official start-up handyman’. Startups surely respect his effort and help! And if you have trouble pitching your idea, Mike’s the man to talk to!
Anastasia Haysom (Australia), Founder of Opal Blue, ex-Vice President at FXI Technologies (Norway), etc. Anastasia is originally Australian, but has been active in the Europe quite a lot, most recently in Norway joining one of the most promising growth ventures in Europe, FXI Technologies. FXI is the recipient of the Red Herring Top 100 award among everything else. Anastasia is also the founder and owner of Opal Blue Ventures. Anastasia has over 10 years of experience in global Sales and Marketing & Business Development. Holding numerous executive and Board positions, Anastasia specializes in tailoring corporations towards International expansion by forming automated, successful, and innovative business practices.
Juhani Saukkonen (Finland) is a Senior Advisor, Business Development for the City of Oulu, and Executive Director, Global Clusters, for a national business development and investment readiness program. Juhani has been working in the field of Economic Development for fifteen years with special focus on scalable, venture capital fundable start-ups and SMEs.
In the field of Economic Development he has also served as a Program Manager for the software specific technology program of Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation and as a Director at a Regional Centre of Expertise Program.
Prior to these activities he has held management positions in three high-tech companies: in 2 software start-ups and in 1 electronics company. Juhani Saukkonen holds an MBA from the University of Oulu.
Santtu Hulkkonen (Finland) is the Co-founder and Executive Vice President of Solved – The Cleantech Company Ltd. Solved is originally Cleantech Finland’s innovation, established in May 2013 as MBO from Finpro.
Santtu is the key architect and former Executive Director of Cleantech Finland, a network of top 100 Finnish cleantech companies and experts and dedicated to linking Finnish cleantech expertise with global demand. Prior to Solved and Cleantech Finland, Santtu worked as a consultant in Finpro Austria and Head of Trade Center in Romania for Finnish cleantech companies to develop and expand business in new markets. Earlier Santttu served at the United Nations as an Environmental Consultant for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in Thailand and in the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) in Hungary. Santtu is/has been also holding advisory and board member positions in several Finnish Cleantech companies and organizations such as Tekes Green Growth 2013 – 2015.
Dr Tim Whitworth (UK) is a Commercial Assessment & IP Manager for the University of Sheffield. Tim manages a broad range of opportunities arising from the research base of the University; from initial invention disclosure through to commercialisation via a licence to an external party, or the formation of a spin-out venture.
Tim’s background is in the life sciences field, with a PhD in molecular biology obtained whilst working in an early stage, biotechnology, spin-out company.
KooPee Hiltunen (Finland) is the Director of Neogames Finland Association, Finnish Hub of Game Business, Research and Education.
KooPee has been working in digital media industry since the beginning of 90´s and especially with games since 2004.
KooPee is specialized in games industry development, games business and games exports. KooPee Hiltunen is also the spokesperson of Finnish Game Developers Association, founding father and board member in EGDF (European Games Developer Federation), founding father and vice chairman of the board in NGI (Nordic Game Institute), founding father of IGDA Finland Association (International Game Developers Association) and Coordinator in Tekes (Finnish National Funding Agencyg of Technology and Innovation) game programme Skene.
Juho Risku (Finland) is one of the Butterfly Ventures founders, running the Northern Startup Fund!
Juho is a serial entrepreneur with insight into digital businesses, web, mobile, cloud services, social media, marketing, and crowd sourcing, with deep roots in the startup community and innovation systems.
More than 15 years of experience in founding companies and growing businesses. Gathered millions of venture financing, having deep understanding of founder–venture financier co-operation from practical as well as academic perspectives. Most recently since 2008, Founder and CEO of Tribevine Inc., in 2004-2007, Founder, CEO and CTO of Helmi Technologies Inc., in 1996-2010, Founder, CEO and Chairman at Visualway Design Ltd. In addition, Risku has been the Board member of Mainostoimisto VwD Ltd. (2010-2011), and Board member of Oulu Innovation (2006-2010), as well as a Steering committee member of Global Clusters program (2006-2008), and the Creative Business Management program/University of Oulu (2005-2007), Board member of Media Forum Oulu (2003-2006), and the Chairman of Young Entrepreneurs of Oulu network (2002). Risku is 36 years of age, and he holds a Master of Science degree in Economics from the University of Oulu.
Mikko Kotila (India / Finland) is a partner at sostec.io, a social enterprise in India. Sostec is committed to empowering poverty reduction with relevant tools, insights and connections for evidence-based poverty eradication. For qualified startups, researchers, innovators, NGOs and investors sostec provides various acceleration services free-of-charge, while also invests small amounts to the most promising ideas. Mikko has worked 20 years in digital media, analytics and product development and spent the last 10 dealing with real-time data and high performance computing problems. Mikko has founded mediaQuark and STATSIT, and is an advisor to numerous technology and digital media companies. As a researcher and innovator, he has made notable contributions in the field of analytics, data management and artificial intelligence. “I’m Interested in innovation and insights that radically challenge the way we think about the world”.
Pia Erkinheimo (Finland), Head of Crowds & Communities, DIGILE. Pia is currently responsible for community management and crowdsourcing related business models at DIGILE, The Finnish Strategic Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation in Digital Business. She is the rapporteur for the Open Innovation Strategy & Policy Group OISPG – an industry influencer group liaising DG Connect, European Commission, and is involved in 4 start-ups as a member of advisory board or with sweat capital. She is a member of FIBAN, Finnish Business Angels Network.
Prior to this, Pia worked 5 years at Nokia, e.g. as Head of Innovation Crowdsourcing and at Nokia Strategy, and before that for Cap Gemini as Senior Consultant in M&A and Human Capital related topics. She joined the internet-economy in late 90’s when she worked in several multimedia eLearning and mixed reality related SMEs. Pia holds an MA in behavioural sciences combining industrial management and strategy studies (University of Helsinki, Aalto University) and the Ph.D. studies has taken her to e.g. University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business.
Petri Lehmuskoski (Finland), Co-Founder of Gorilla Ventures Oy (a Vigo accelerator) and angel investor
Petri started his first company at the age of 18, and took that company to reach over 120 M€ annual turnover, running operations in seven countries. Today Petri is a portfolio entrepreneur, angel investor and co-founder at Gorilla Ventures accelerator (www.gorillaventures.fi). Gorilla Ventures helps startups to realize their potential.
Martti Elsilä (Finland), a consultant in growth venturing through his own consultancy as well as through Opal Blue Ventures consulting. Previously Martti has been working at Technopolis in various positions and is a Board member at the Venture Cup Foundation. Martti is one of the most respected figures hanging around start-ups, having been dealing with startups a long time. His years of experience in the technology field and with start-ups and innovations speaks for itself. Martti’s background includes positions like CEO of Idesco, and Board member at M-Technology, Capricode, Codenomicon, Otimetri, among several other positions.
Leila-Mari Ryynänen (Finland/United Kingdom), CEO of Tribalearning
She’s just started quite recently at Tribalearning as the CEO, but what we hear, their hot and coming hotter every day, and that’s not just because they’re focusing on some warmer parts of the world!
At Finpro Leila-Mari focused on identifying and developing new business opportunities for Finnish companies in global markets as the Director of New Business Development at Finpro London. She has more than 20 years’ experience in planning and implementing international growth models for small and medium-sized companies. Her home was been in London for the last 10 years prior to moving back to Finland last year. Prior to her London Finpro assignment, she consulted companies and run businesses in The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Canada and USA. Leila-Mari has also been responsible for running a technology program for Tekes, and acted as a board member for technology and innovation programs.
Leena Mörttinen (Finland) is the Director of Competitiveness and Growth in Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK). She has a doctoral degree from Helsinki University and has been previously in Nordea bank, European central bank and in Finnish central bank.
Markku Mutanen (Finland), Co-Founder of Business Angels Finland Oy and the upcoming crowdfunding platform Pocket Venture, and has long experience in various different size companies. Through BAF Markku has a very deep insight into the Finnish private equity ecosystem and start-up scene in general. Pocket Venture again is a newly established crowdfunding platform with a twist, go check them out!
Pekka Räsänen (Finland), Oulu University. Pekka is sitting at the Oulu University evaluating innovations and inventions from various fields – and especially many University research spin-offs and student teams.
Pekka has worked since August 1999 in the field of technology transfer from research bench to industry, previously at the Foundation of Finnish Inventions, and now for the University of Oulu. He has personally evaluated more than 500 (!) business ideas. During this period 20+ research-based start-ups have been established and 60+ licence agreements have been closed between University/Inventor and an industrial licensee. BTW, Foundation of Finnish Inventions is a public pre-seed phase investor.
Kaisa Still (Finland, USA) is a firm believer on co-creation, collaboration and the role of technology in supporting them. Her research concentrates on understanding, managing and measuring innovation ecosystems — seeing relationships as conduits for resources and finding ways of presenting those. She works at VTT Technical Research Centre, is a founding member of Innovation Ecosystems Networks of Stanford mediaX and is currently a Visiting Scholar at Stanford mediaX.
Previously, Kaisa has supported actors of the Finnish innovation ecosystem in Silicon Valley and Beijing, China. During her 5 years at Silicon Valley she worked at a business incubator, as a market analyst and at a Finnish company who successfully got financing and grew (Solid). During her 10 years of China, she worked at a Finnish growth company (Detection Technology) as well as consulted other Finnish companies. Her recent move allows her to continue being active in the Finnish innovation ecosystem — now in Oulu, Finland.
Lasse Mäkelä (Finland), CEO and Founder of Invesdor. With more than 15 years of experience working in finance, banking and building businesses, Lasse brings solid financial and capital raising experience to Invesdor. Beginning his career as an investment banker in London (Merrill Lynch), Lasse was involved in various capital raising initiatives, stock exchange listings and company mergers and acquisitions. From Merrill Lynch, Lasse moved on to became a partner in Icecapital Securities (Helsinki) specialising in capital raising and acquisition projects. After eight years in investment banking, Lasse moved to KONE Corporation, where he was responsible for company acquisitions and alliances. Recently Lasse was part of Consti Groups’ management group, with responsibility for acquisitions, finance and business development.
Lasse has a BSc from the Cass Business School (City University, London) and an Executive MBA from Helsinki School of Economics.
Eero Kaikkonen (Finland), Coach at Minero, Head of the Oulu StartUp Incubator; Entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Hantro (1992-2007), raised €20M from Venture Capital investors during four years. Hantro was acquired by On2 Technologies (AMEX: ONT) in 2007. After the merger Eero was CMO at On2 Technologies (2007-09) in Clifton Park, N.Y. Whole On2 was acquired 2010 by Google and old Hantro team is working now as Google R&D team. CEO of Cascard Oy (wantlet.com) (2009 -2012, Oulu-based consumer marketing service targeting U.S. markets. Startup Coach at Minero since 2012, running the NextLevel startup accelerator. Two patches run (total 12 companies) November 2012-december 2013, third patch starting January 2014.
Lasse Lehtinen (Finland) is the CEO of Frontier Seed Capital, and the Founder and the Chairman of Nord Growth. Lasse is the CEO of Frontier Seed Accelerator, which invests seed capital in early-stage technology companies and delivers concrete results for their international growth, sales and business development. Lasse has years of experience and a strong track record in managing international b2b sales, marketing, market entries and business development in international growth companies.
He has helped various growth companies in sales strategy, finance and to enter and grow business in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. He has invested in Smarp, FundedByMe, CreateTrips, 10Monkeys.com, Nordtouch, TweetAtlas, TribeStudios and Bookiwoo. Lasse holds a Master’s Degree in Marketing and Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Aalto University School of Business.
Antti Kosunen (Finland), Co-founder of Nestholma StartUp Accelerator and Butterfly Ventures
Serial Entrepreneur, investor and IPR specialist. Has served as CEO of stock listed company, founded and successfully ran global technology businesses in several European countries and the US. Raised funding almost for 100 million and closed deals in 40+ countries.
Mikko Perälä (Finland), Founder of Topspot, Cubicasa, Codemate + about dozen other companies.
“Lifestyle, afraid of job interviews or a mystical case of insanity” explains Mikko why he’s got himself involved in so many companies – and just building up a new one.
Mikko defines himself as a serial entrepreneur who doesn’t consider country borders a barrier, but rather an opportunity to explore beyond. Mikko wanders around the world setting up small idea-fires, finds the right people to run the idea, and steps back to find the next idea and team. “Plenty of ideas and internal fire driving those ideas, but also impatient and afraid of routines…”
Mikko blogs at http://www.sisubase.fi, and his current involvements include interesting portfolio of companies including e.g. sports management company Topspot Oy, Topspot Move sports tech company, next gen building concept GroupBuilder, SE Asia focused consulting company SisuBase Oy, CubiCasa Oy – 3D visualisation service, and venturing company Multi Solution Oy, to name a few.
Sakari Pihlava (Finland), CEO at Vendep (a Vigo accelerator company)
Sakari’s been working with startups and VC financing for quite a while. He has worked for TVM Capital in Munich and Boston, and has worked at the F-Secure Board preparing the Nasdaq OMX listing. Prior to joining Vendep, Sakari worked as a VP for Efecte.
Juha Koponen (Finland), CEO & Co-Founder, Swap.com & Netcycler. Juha got his D.Sc. degree in Technical Physics by conducting experiments with a fusion reactor. In 1999 Juha joined First Hop where he worked as the VP of product development and global services business. First Hop developed and sold its software products to over 60 telco operators around the world. First Hop was acquired by Airwide Solutions Inc. in December 2007 and Juha had his exit to establish Netcycler. Recently Netcycler launched Swap.com Kid’s Consignment in the USA. Swap.com offers unseen convenience for people trading their pre-owned items. Juha is also a board member of Innofactor Plc., the fastest growing technology company in NASDAQ OMX Helsinki.
Mika Valtasaari (Finland) is a Startup Coach for Enterprise Helsinki’s NewCo Factory. Prior to coaching startups, Mika spent 12 years developing and launching products at Nokia in Denmark and Finland.
Jury members from previous competitions:
Dr. Koo Tae Kang (South Korea) used to be a General Director of Hyundai-Kia Motor Company’s R&D Center for more than 28 years. Professor Kang currently teaches “Venture creation and strategic management of technological innovation” to students of mechanical engineering at Sogang university in South Korea. He is interested in helping students in new venture creation and is actively co-founding new ventures himself, too. When he working at the Hyundai-Kia R&D center, he developed many power trains to install to new vehicles, and was involved in making a number of strategic decisions for the future R&D.
Lital Kiperman Vaknin (Israel), Business Development Director in Mail.Ru’s M&A team.
Mail.Ru is the biggest Internet company in Russia with a reach of almost 100M users in the CIS region. The M&A team, located in Israel, is looking for various cooperation opportunities with Startups worldwide for business development channel, Investments and M&A, thus – opening a door to the intriguing and highly potential Russian market. Lital is responsible for both deal flow and business channels, scouting interesting startups mainly from Israel and Europe for this purpose. Lital has almost a decade of Business development experience, previously leading ICQ’s business activities in the EMEA region.
Peter ‘Mighty Eagle’ Vesterbacka (Finland), Rovio; The best known Finn in the world, the face of Angry Birds, and the Co-Founder of Mobile Monday and one part of Start Wreck. If we’d have to guess who’s going to be the first emperor of earth, it would be Peter.
Dr Aarathi Prasad (UK) is a science advisor to the British Council, the United Kingdom’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations which manages E-idea, an innovative competition that funds, supports and mentors young eco-entrepreneurs, aged 18-35, from seven Asia-Pacific countries; and Skills for Social Entrepreneurs – a social network and online marketplace for social entrepreneurs and the people that support them.
Previously a cancer genetics researcher at Imperial College London, and a science author, Aarathi has appeared on TV and radio programs on the BBC, Channel 4, and the Discovery Channel, and written for Wired and other publications.
Ilkka Paananen (Finland), CEO of Supercell, Partner at Lifeline Ventures (a Vigo Accelerator)
Ilkka has more than ten years of experience in start-ups, managing growth and international expansion, as well as fund raising and exits. He was the founding CEO of Sumea, which grew into one of the top developers and publishers of mobile games, with a massive distribution network of over 100 channels that included every major European carrier. Based on Sumea’s leadership position in Europe, Ilkka and the company’s founders sold Sumea to Digital Chocolate in 2004. After the merger, Ilkka served as the Managing Director of the European operations for two years before being promoted to President to lead the global publishing operations of the company, which consisted of the studios in Helsinki, Barcelona and Silicon Valley.
In late 2010, Ilkka joined Supercell as the CEO to lead the growth plan of the company, raising a total of $15M in funding and help it become the leader in the next generation online games. Ilkka has graduated with Honors from the Department of Industrial Management at Helsinki University of Technology.
For the past twenty five years as the President of GeoSoft, a domestic and International sales and marketing firm, Owen Greeson (USA) has represented clients in Europe, Asia, and America. Starting in 2000 Owen has worked with the Finnish Government assisting software companies with their entry into the US. Over 60 companies from Finland have visited Atlanta and participated in seminars conducted by Owen and his associates.
His background in the personal computer industry dates from 1977 after purchasing a computer kit from Processor Technology and becoming a member of the original Atlanta Computer Club with Dennis Hayes (developer of the first PC modem) where his interest in Data Communications first surfaced.
As the founding Vice President of International Sales and Marketing and equity participant of CipherTrust, Owen helped create a new market segment that eliminates Spam (unsolicited email). In 2006 CipherTrust was sold for $274 million.
Mikael Klug (Germany), Founder of Profinet Services, and former Director EMEA Marketing and Communications at More Magic Software MMS GmbH, is well connected in the telecommunication industry and has an excellent track record in bringing IT and telecommunication companies to the German speaking market. Among Mikael’s former clients in his past positions have been such finnish technology heavyweights like Nokia, Sonera, HTD (Helsinki Telecom Deutschland), Ericsson Finland, Tellabs, Tecnomen, Comptel as well as small and middle sized companies like Akumiitti, IOBox, Satama Interactive, Necsom and More Magic Software. 2001 he founded Profinet Services to support international startups in business development, sales and marketing.
Eyal Benjamin (Israel), an entrepreneurship-strategy scholar and a serial entrepreneur passionate about innovations. Eyal has established four start-ups by now, two of which were sold. Holding a B.Sc. in engineering from the Tel-Aviv university in Israel; Masters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation; and a PhD. on the topic of “radical changes in strategy of high technology new ventures” both from the Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia.
Currently Eyal heads the StartHub entrepreneurship accelerator program, and acts as a lecturer at the Tel Aviv Yaffo Academic College (Israel).
Juuso Nissilä (Finland), Founder of Valkee. Juuso is a dedicated researcher come startup entrepreneur. Juuso has earned a his researcher credentials in biology, animal physiology more precisely. He is an ex-Polar senior researcher who had his shining bright vision to become a startup entrepreneur when his research lead him to understand that there may be extraordinary opportunities in curing the so called “winter blues”, the seasonal disorder that causes significant depression during the dark winter time. Juuso says to have been a devoted biohacker since 1994.
Göran Andersson (Finland) is an innovation and technology management consultant. He has long experience in general and innovation management positions in Scandinavian industrial corporations with global operations. Göran has also served on the Boards of several Swedish and Finnish technology ventures. Göran’s focus is on entrepreneurship and leadership as keys to successful commercialization of technology.
Jussi Heinilä (Finland), Accelerando. Jussi has over 25 years experience to share in the challenging world of ICT. Before Accelerando Jussi has helped countless Finnish start-up companies to internationalize in Europe, Asia and the USA. Jussi was in charge of the Finpro Silicon Valley office in California in 2001-2005. During this time, Jussi and his team supported more than 50 U.S. market entry projects. Prior to this, Jussi was a management consultant for five years in the UK and in the Netherlands.
Overall, Jussi is also an angel investor and serial entrepreneur who has co-founded and built up several companies over the last 14 years. In the late 80′s and 90′s Jussi was in several management functions at Nokia, Teamware, and Fujitsu-ICL. LinkedIn Profile, Twitter @jussiheinila
Hannu Kytölä (Finland), Founder and Chairman at Vendep, a Vigo accelerator company.
Hannu is probably best known as the Founder of Nettiauto.com which was later sold to Yhtyneet Kuvalehdet, but he has dedicated his last decade and a half to helping and investing in startups, currently running a portfolio of c. 30 investments, making him one of the most active investors in Finland and the Nordics. You can bet Hannu has insight into startups, his feedback is well expected by many who enter the competition, I’m sure! Recently Hannu has expanded his reach into several International markets with certain web services…
Daniel Daboczy (Sweden), CEO and co-founder of FundedByMe. Daniel Daboczy is a former art curator who honed his craft at the Stockholm Art Museum called Färgfabriken. Prior to launching FundedByMe in 2011, Daniel was the founder of Dabber, a web agency that worked with major brands to implement online solutions for video and communications. Born in 1977 in Transylvania, Romania, Daniel and his family relocated to Sweden in 1989 where he still lives with his wife and daughter. Himself a creative, Daniel is fascinated by startup life, having made it his mission to change lives for those wanting to build their dreams. He is a passionate sailor, father, dreamer and entrepreneur and can often be caught speaking about crowdfunding, meeting with investors and entrepreneurs and hardly ever sitting still.
Tommi Ullgrén (Finland) (http://fi.linkedin.com/in/
Heikki Huomo (Finland), Co-Founder and Chairman at Reactive Technologies. Heikki is also former director of CIE, Center for Internet Excellence, at the University of Oulu. Mr. Huomo is also a member of ISTAG, advisory group of European Commission on overall strategy for ICT Research and Innovation. Prior to CIE, Huomo has held several management, development and research positions in the technology industry, such as the VP at NXP Semiconductors, CTO for Innovision Research and Technology (now part of Bradcomm), and VP and Director, Nokia Research, Nokia Mobile Phones and Nokia Ventures organization. Mr. Huomo holds several patents in the wireless area and a D.Sc. (Tech) in Engineering Physics from the Aalto University.
Tony Manninen (Finland), PhD, Co-Founder, CEO & Lead Designer at game studio LudoCraft Ltd., member of executive board and co-founder at TeamingStream Ltd., Meetius Ltd., and Awardom Ltd. Tony is a computer games designer, researcher and consultant. His areas of expertise include design, analysis and production of collaborative multiplayer games and their diverse applications. Tony started playing digital games in the late 70’s and he has continued the active game playing career ever since. He has designed numerous games and has published game related papers in academic forums, as well as, game reviews and game related articles in popular media. Currently, Tony concentrates on leading LudoCraft in its pursuit of applying and commercialising games and game-like solutions for utilitarian purposes.
Pekka Mattila, Group Managing Director at Aalto EE; Pekka holds a Doctoral degree in Social Sciences, and is focused on strategic marketing and change management/leadership function. He acts as the Group Managing Director at the Aalto University Executive Education group. Additionally Pekka is the Adjunct Professor at Aalto University School of Economics, and Professor at the leadership and marketing in executive education programs. He is a sought after advisor, coach and speaker for both domestic and foreign bluechip companies as well as public sector organisations and non-profits. During recent years Pekka has been published widely on change management and corporate marketing. And among other duties Pekka also acts as the Chairman of the Board of e.g. the Helsinki Festival and 2 specialist corporations.
Man was born to fly. And so was Mikki Korhonen (Finland). He has been busy in brand building for over 20 years in Finnish respectable companies such as Taivas, Euro RSCG Helsinki, G2 and Kuudes Kerros (also one of the founding partners). Now Mikki is a founding partner in the newly established community called Innvolve. With a mission to help new ideas, products and services to become international success stories. Mikki is also a flying force; partner and Member of the Board at FlyNano Oy.
Kari Kivistö (Finland), ‘Chief Innovation Coach’ at YritysTakomo, an idea factory. YritysTakomo is probably best known as the second home for a large number of Oulu-region’s free experts, who’ve all got a spark to build new start-ups and commonly coach each others new ideas and ventures. “Our aim is to connect great ideas with great competencies and to wait and see what happens”, says Kari. And to no surprise, one of Kari’s past positions was at Nokia, as the man in charge of internal Innovation Boosting activities.
Petri Hyyppä (Finland), Co-Founder at ProceedIT, ex-Director at Ixonos Plc. At Ixonos Petri was heading EMEA Media and Operator sales and business development.
Petri has wide experience in the areas of technology and business development, having worked for global high tech companies such as Nokia & Ixonos for both R&D and business development functions for the last 14+ years. In the past Petri has been developing and driving new innovations to the market, especially in the areas of video & TV and mobile commerce solutions. During the last few years Petri has been active in creating new solutions for multi-channel media delivery, both for corporate customers and also participating in various pro bono activities such as the NeoArena program and the Mobile Monday activities in Oulu.
Mika Ruostesuo (Finland), Ruostesuo Consulting Oy. Mika has a long experience working in software business. He currently runs his own consultancy, sharing his activities between a number of companies. Mika is also the ex-CEO of both Technopolis Ventures Oulu and Ardites. Additionally Mika has worked with Venture Cup as well.
Reidar Wasenius (Finland), Founding Partner & CCO at BRIIM Inc (briim.com). He is helping people communicate and evolve. Reidar’s areas of expertise are communications and education. He is a popular speaker at conferences and he is frequently featured in the media. Reidar’s past employers include Samsung, Nokia, TeliaSonera, Digital Equipment Corporation and TEKES. He has mainly been working in business development and marketing. His employers in the media industry include the Finnish National Broadcasting Company, a number of commercial radio stations and the Arcada university of applied sciences, where he was the first Director of the B.A. programme in Media and Communications.
Juha Ruohonen, Aalto Venture Garage Entrepreneur in Residence, currently the head coach for the Startup Sauna -program. Juha is an experienced startupper with successes under his belt, and a history of several VC rounds.
Minna Isomursu (Finland), Research Professor of networked services and (social) media at VTT; Minna’s research tries to find new ways to take advantage of IT and communications technologies in everyday services, such as learning, consuming, and social communications. In her spare time Minna does slightly different type of research in her garden…
Erkki Peltola (Finland), Deputy Managing Director at Pohto, The Institute for Management and Technological Training; Erkki is actively helping develop companies both big and small, and runs interesting business model simulations at Pohto… Check them out!
Niko Mikkola (Finland), Director, Turning ideas into Business at CIE (Center for Internet Excellence). During the past year alone, Niko has met and sparred with about 50 new ideas and/or companies in the ICT industry. Some of those new born companies are already on their way to launch their products or services Internationally, so Niko has quite a good overview into what’s hot and what’s not. He has worked in International high-tech business for about 20 years so far, having held leadership positions in business management and R&D, both in the US and in Finland.
Toni Piirainen (Finland), CEO and Co-Founder of Codemate, and the co-Founder of a wide range of other companies, including e.g. Fonella, Base International, CubiCasa, etc. Codemate currently employs just over 80 people in Finland, Thailand and Bangladesh, and has just been named as one of the fastest growing companies in Finland! Toni himself is an easy-going guy, it almost looks like he’s not really working but having fun, things just go forward so effortlessly for him.
Pekka Kantola (Finland), CEO of OBN (Oulu Business Networks). Pekka is a familiar face at many industry events and leadership forums, always active in educating himself on the newest trends and topics. As a field of specialism Pekka has long experience in quality management, R&D processes and product management from a variety of clients and industries, including automotive, paper and pulp, forestry, heavy machinery, software, etc. Pekka’s past employment includes positions at e.g. Voicebit, Capricode and Soneco.
Tuija Postari-Kivistö (Finland), currently coachng wannabe entrepreneurs at YritysTakomo, ex-COO at Codenomicon. She’s also working as a Board member for an accounting company, having done HHJ Board member certification.
Erkki Aaltonen (Finland) has more than 10 years of diversified experience in business development, sales and partnering in venture capital and telecommunication businesses. He currently works at VTT Ventures, early stage venture capital firm investing in technology and life-sciences, as an Investment Director. Erkki is also Board Director of several VTT Ventures portfolio companies (e.g. Envault Corporation, Hookie Technologies and Aivon), and in addition to those he has been co-founder & board director in several start ups and held various key roles at Nokia.
Erkki believes in the ability of technological innovation to change the world for the better. And loves being a part of that. His mission is to help entrepreneurs create great companies – the kind of enterprises that can transform a whole industry. Lasting benefits that come from genuine innovation, nurtured by the right decisions and careful backing, not just quick profits.
Seppo Salow (Finland), Ex-Director of Operation, S60 application at Nokia, has worked in different R&D positions during his 22 years at Nokia from HW to SW. He has been responsible for several phone business development programs as a R&D site manager in Oulu. During the last year as part of the operational activities Seppo has worked with the SW ecosystem building in Oulu and the new SW/service business model creation to speed up mobile application development on different platforms. One of the operative activities in the SW area has been offshoring to low cost countries and the related cost/efficiency analyses. Education: eMBA/TKK Helsinki 2010 and M.Sc. from the University of Oulu.
Matti Pulkka (Finland), Partner at OBN. Matti’s specialties include quality, audits, and certifications. His quality-driven career includes such interesting abbreviations as CAF, EFQM, BSC, and IMSProcess. I leave it for You to Google what all these standards and certifications mean… Matti has ran a great number of audits and evaluations across industries.
Mikko Pesonen (Finland), CEO of 2C Customer Consulting. Mikko has wide experience in developing services, marketing, and different types of research. His experience covers a variety of industries in both B2B and B2C markets. His expertize has been used by companies of all sizes and public organisations as well. In most cases Mikko’s experience is needed when a new product or service is being developed, or the market potential and concepting of new products or services are being evaluated and analyzed. You can find Mikko’s profile also at https://www.asiantuntijahaku.fi/ah/Mikko_Pesonen
Tapani Raappana (Finland), Partner and Chairman at OBN. Tapani’s specialties include International sales and marketing, product development and product management processes. His work experience covers widely telecommunications, electronics, and metal industries. Tapani’s focus has mostly been on B2B markets in Europe, Asia and USA, and he has long experience working in the North American markets.
Pertti Pekkala (Finland), CEO of MCon Partners. Pertti has coached well over 300 (!) companies during his career, and has had his fingers on some of the most interesting companies coming from Oulu region. Well versed management consultant with some serious experience to share. Pertti has been involved in numerous consulting assignments with Oulu region public strategy boards, TEKES TULI Board, has IMT and MINT certifications, and several Board memberships from private companies from different fields.